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Bishops Call for River's Preservation

May 08, 1999|Associated Press

SEATTLE — Roman Catholic bishops are weighing in on the debate over the Columbia River and its resources.

The bishops, whose territory covers the Columbia River watershed, are writing a pastoral letter urging people to be better caretakers of the river.

Pastoral letters are rare. In the past, they have been written on issues such as war, peace, homosexuality and poverty in America.

"The time has come for us to do this," said Bishop Carlos Sevilla of Yakima.

The letter, to be released this month, emphasizes the river's position as the spiritual lifeblood of the region, not as the economic workhorse it has become. The letter is earning praise for putting a fresh perspective into the debate over water quality and salmon health.

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